Dirty toilets, dirty politics

HARARE - Back at the end of the 1990s, I was approached in my office at the old Daily News in Trustee House in Harare by a newly-elected Member of Parliament.

He was flanked on either side by bodyguards or henchmen or bouncers or enforcers — take your pick.

They had “MENACE” written all over their bulky bodies. You messed with their boss and you could end up in a ditch, with a broken nose, broken teeth and broken legs  — or worse.

They stood on either side of their boss while he sat in a chair opposite me, looking the ultimate picture of political coolness.

He asked me if I could help him draft a speech he intended to deliver in Parliament.

I looked at the two men, before asking, with little enthusiasm:. “Why me?”

My voice reeked with what I believed to be the kind of menace I had detected in his and his henchmen’s demeanour.

He spoke with some eloquence about how he admired my writing and why he thought I could draft a beautiful speech for him.

When I asked: “Why me?” He seemed momentarily confused, darting eyes one after the other to his bodyguards.

“You write so beautifully,” he said, with an admiring sigh.

The discussion continued, with me holding the centre stage, explaining why there was not a hope in hell of me drafting his speech.

They eventually left.

One of them mumbled about how I had just missed a chance to make a fortune.

Politics is dirty, I told myself after they had left.

One political guru has compared the dirt in our politics to the state of public toilets in Harare and Bulawayo.

Not many people have ever related to the filth in our politics to the state of the public lavatories in these cities.

Since I have lived in both, I know the state of the public lavatories: filthy.

I challenge anyone in any doubt to pay them a visit.

Both cities also possess a miasma of dirt all around them — at any time of the day or night.

I don’t blame the politicians who run the cities.

I blame the government which is responsible for turning our politics into one huge cesspool.

The dirt is characterised by the pervasive corruption around us.

There has never been so much corruption as there is now.

I speak authoritatively on the subject as one who has observed our politics since 1957. The young people would not remember Charles Mzingeli, would they?

He was a kind of pioneer against white rule, his original turf being what is now called Mbare.

Two pioneers of the struggle, George Nyandoro and James Chikerema were his earliest disciples.

Later in their lives, they would be nationally lionised as pioneers of the struggle.

Nyandoro is buried at the Heroes Acre, not Chikerema. Why he was denied that privilege remains a stunning mystery.

Joshua Nkomo, with whom the two men launched the original ANC, is buried there too.

If anyone can explain, satisfactorily, why Chikerema is not buried there, while virtual nonentities lie there, I’d love to hear their reasons.

In the past, I have suggested these blunders could be  responsible for some of our political and economic misfortunes.

It is time to address them.

It wouldn’t cost much, not even in dignity.

    Comments (1)

    The issue of the Heroes Acre would be laughable if it wasn't of national interest. We have people like Chenjerai Hunzvi, who should have died in prison instead, being buried there (remember him satifying three-quarters of our rulers as being on average 60% or so disabled). Then there is Border Gezi who went there for dancing kongonya. Then there is Sabina Mugabe who we understand was buried there because she once delivered a letter to her brother when he was detained in Kadoma.

    Kufakwejeyi - 23 May 2014

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